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Cash Assistance

Look for information about TANF (Family Assistance), Safety Net Assistance (general assistance), and emergency assistance programs.


2015 Policy Wrap Up: Screening Public Assistance Clients for Disabilities: A Promising, but Very Frustrating Development
After years of advocacy, OTDA finally chose a screening tool, the Modified Mini Screen (MMS), to identify public assistance applicants with menatl health conditions and other disabilities. Read More

Empire Justice Infographic: How New York's Asset Tests Keep People Poor
An interactive illustration of data from Empire Justice Center's report "Driven into Poverty: How New York's Asset Tests Keep People Poor." Read More

MEDIA ADVISORY: New Report Calls for Change to New York State Law that Drains the Equity Out of the Homes of Current and Former Public Assistance Recipients
Announcing the release of Empire Justice’s report, “Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability.” Read More

Cash Assistance: Articles


Empire Justice Press Release: New Yorkers Driven into Poverty by Shortsighted Policy
Today, Empire Justice Center released “Driven into Poverty: How New York’s Asset Tests Keep People Poor,” a report documenting the problems with various “asset tests” imposed by New York State on public assistance applicants. Read More

Immigrants to Mangano, county agencies: Speak our languages
Members of the language-advocacy coalition pressed the administration to deliver on executive orders 67 and 72 from 2013, in which Mangano required departments to translate vital documents into six languages other than English and provide "competent interpretation services." Read More

Cash Assistance: In the News


Empire Justice Memo of Support: Require Local Districts to Credit the Minimum Wage Value of Workfare when Recovering Properly Paid Public Assistance
When an individual works off their grant by participation in workfare, it's only fair that the value of that work be credited against any recovery that the local district is entitled to make. Read More

Empire Justice Testimony on the Impact of Poverty on Senior Citizens
Empire Justice testimony for the joint Assembly Aging and Social Services Committees on how asset tests are causing seniors to bankrupt themselves in order to get temporary assistance. Read More

Cash Assistance: Policy Advocacy


Driven into Poverty: How New York's Asset Tests Keep People Poor
Empire Justice Center’s new report, “Driven into Poverty: How New York’s Asset Tests Keep People Poor” explores the need for policy change that recognizes that it’s counter-intuitive to make people who have scrimped, saved and pinched pennies for the future impoverish themselves to get the temporary help they need to make ends meet. Read More


Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability
This report provides an comprehensive analysis of New York’s use of Social Services Law §106, which allows Social Services Districts to recover public assistance paid to individuals who own their own homes, by taking a mortgage against the recipient’s property. The report also chronicles the legal background of the practice, the interplay between this policy and the push for foreclosure prevention, the need for detailed record keeping, and makes recommendations to ensure that debt is recovered against these mortgages only in the appropriate situations and for the correct amount. Read More


Cash Assistance: Publications


May 2012 Issue of Policy Matters
As the end of New York’s 2012 legislative session approaches, Empire Justice Center advocates are switching into high gear, working hard to advance legislation that benefits lower income New Yorkers and to halt bills that will harm New York consumers, Medicaid recipients and providers. Read about our priorities for the end of the state legislative session. Read More

Policy Matters April 2012
Empire Justice Center’s newsletter focused solely on policy. This inaugural issue will focus on the recently passed state budget and how it will affect lower income New Yorkers, including people at risk of foreclosure, health care consumers, people with disabilities and those needing civil legal services. Read More

Cash Assistance: Newsletters


Collateral Consequences of Attorney Fee Awards, Cash Settlements or Damages
This session identifies the potential impact of damage awards, cash settlements and attorney fee awards on tax liability, means tested benefits, and vulnerability to creditors. It provides an example of an award in a Fair Labor Standards Act case involving a public assistance recipient who has participated in workfare, and covers the use of Supplemental Needs Trusts to protect cash settlements and awards Read More

Representing Clients with Disabilities in the Welfare Context: How to Use the Law to Help Clients with Disabilities Access Public Benefits
This session first offers tips for recognizing and working with clients with disabilities. Then, it will also provide an overview of the legal framework for disability advocacy in the welfare context. Finally, it examines selected welfare issues and how they impact clients with disabilities. This will include, for example, reasonable accommodations, the application process, the work requirements and the rules relating to drug and alcohol use. This session examines both administrative advocacy and litigation. Read More

Cash Assistance: Trainings & Events